Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ode to



I know, I know, I know, I know. I am barely coming round the mountain these days, much less here on the old blog. I'm writing, though, quite a bit offline, so don't leave me. I might be asking you to buy my book one day. I might also ask you to find me the perfect job -- one that I can do at home while tending to Sophie as she goes through her ups and downs, pays hooky from school, gets hives, has her medications reduced, gets her THC and CBD dosages tinkered with -- you know the drill. I think.

Last night, as evidenced above, I went to the downtown library to hear the magnificent poets Robin Coste Lewis and Sharon Olds read from their books and then have an inspiring conversation with the moderator and writer Louise Steinman (she actually has my dream job as curator of the ALOUD program). I don't even know what to say about how fantastic Robin and Sharon were -- how inspiring and funny and moving and strong. It was one of those nights when I felt exhilarated to live in this city, to be a woman and a writer and feminist. It was especially cleansing after the clusterf*&k Presidential debate the night before.

Good Lord, ya'll. My status update on Facebook got about five million silly "likes" and as many shares and comments, and all I said was:

It makes me want to weep that our first female candidate for President has to debate this colossal piece of shit.

That's all I'll say about that -- oh, except that if you're still "on the fence" or "voting for the lesser of two evils" or any of that balderdash, I hope you spontaneously combust.

I'd post one of the poems that Sharon Olds read aloud last night called Ode to the Clitoris, but I haven't gotten my copy of her new books, so here's one of my favorites from an earlier collection. Prepare yourself.


I Go Back to May 1937

I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges, 
I see my father strolling out 
under the ochre sandstone arch, the   
red tiles glinting like bent 
plates of blood behind his head, I 
see my mother with a few light books at her hip 
standing at the pillar made of tiny bricks, 
the wrought-iron gate still open behind her, its 
sword-tips aglow in the May air, 
they are about to graduate, they are about to get married,   
they are kids, they are dumb, all they know is they are   
innocent, they would never hurt anybody.   
I want to go up to them and say Stop,   
don’t do it—she’s the wrong woman,   
he’s the wrong man, you are going to do things 
you cannot imagine you would ever do,   
you are going to do bad things to children, 
you are going to suffer in ways you have not heard of, 
you are going to want to die. I want to go 
up to them there in the late May sunlight and say it, 
her hungry pretty face turning to me,   
her pitiful beautiful untouched body, 
his arrogant handsome face turning to me,   
his pitiful beautiful untouched body,   
but I don’t do it. I want to live. I   
take them up like the male and female   
paper dolls and bang them together   
at the hips, like chips of flint, as if to   
strike sparks from them, I say 
Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it.

Sharon Olds

8 comments:

  1. Good GOD! That poem. I've read it before. It struck me to my core. It strikes me to my core. I wish I'd written it.

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  2. Wow that poem is powerful. I heard Robin Costs Lewis speaks in Portland and she blew me away with her intellect, words and talk on erasure literature.

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  3. Oh. That is not how I expected that poem to end.

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  4. I love the "spontaneously combust" best of all.πŸ’œπŸ˜πŸ˜˜πŸ˜

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  5. Oh my god that poem. It is a whole story. The plot of an extraordinary book. And I was one of those millions of "likes" because it makes me weep too.

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  6. I wish I'd known that poem when I was younger and going through all of it, it might have made my tolerance of their stupidity as wee bit easier to take.

    What you bring us, girl. Thanks is never enough.

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  7. I just bought Sharon Olds' new book without reading more about it than this post. "Do what you are going to do, and I will tell about it."

    I need that fierce energy in my life to counteract the man-boys who decide that the rules of civilized society do not apply to them; to help me endure their clusterf*&k mentality. How does Hillary keep moving forward?

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